CHAIRMAN Richard Thorndike says the club's new manager will be given time as he faces the difficult task of following Ian Long into the Alvechurch hotseat.

Former boss Long and assistant Richard Colwell left Church last week to take over at Southern League Central neighbours Stourbridge.

Long enjoyed a brilliant spell at Lye Meadow which included a treble in 2015/16 when they landed the Midland Football League Premier title, the Polymac League Cup and the JW Hunt Cup.

Back-to-back promotions followed when they finished runners-up to Basford United in the Northern Premier League Division One South.

Last season saw Church finish fourth in the South League Central and end Stourbridge's promotion hopes with a 2-1 play-off semi-final victory. They were eventually beaten away at King's Lynn Town in the divisional final.

Thorndike now hopes to name Long's successor next week after being inundated with applications.

He said: "We've had 25 applications already and I've been very impressed with the quality so far.

"We've had a real mixed bag of people we know well and others we haven't come across before. I think it shows how far this club has come that it's now a job in high demand.

"When we interviewed for the job when we gave it to Ian we had four applications and none were of the level we've had now.

"It's obvious that Ian will be hard to follow and he's going to be a credit to Stourbridge. The work he has done has been brilliant but we're going to give the new man the time he needs to put his own stamp on the side.

"Since I've been here in 2011 I've only had four manager, so we're not in the habit of moving managers on quickly.

"The one thing we don't want to change is the style of play. We want to keep playing the same attractive football that fans have been watching this season.

"The deadline for applications is Thursday so we'll sift through them, talk to people at the weekend and hopefully be in a position to name the new manager next week.

"We initially wanted to get someone in place by June 5 but I think we may be able to do something sooner."

Meanwhile, Church have lost star man Josh March to Leamington.

Thorndike added: "Over the coming years I think Josh is going to go down as the Alvechurch pin-up boy for what we do here.

"He came in as a young players and was untested at the level but we worked with him and he's been top scorer from wide positions for the last two seasons.

"We all wish him the best of luck for the future."

Defender Josh Ezewele is the only player in the current squad that is contracted for the 2019/20 campaign.

"It's difficult because it's something the new manager needs to sort out when he comes in," added the chairman. "We've been speaking to a lot of the players and the indications are positive but a lot will wait until we have a new manager in place before making decisions."